Teen Amateur Of The Week: Inspiring Before Expiring

Raul's fitness journey started when he was 15. His dad brought him to the gym and showed him the iron. Raul was fascinated. He learned everything he could and got shredded!

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

My father introduced me to the gym when I was 15 years old. I weighed 125 pounds with 13 percent body fat. I was one of the small kids in school and didn't have the best genetics, but that wasn't going to stop me. When high school started, I wanted to be like my buddies; muscular with a nice physique. I saw results from weight training class, but I was still weak. My goal to become stronger and more confident kept me moving forward.

I played starting catcher on the varsity baseball team during my junior year, even though I was the smallest catcher on the team, I had great endurance and strength, but I wasn't satisfied with my body. Toward the end of my junior and beginning of my senior year, I lost some body fat and put on lean muscle mass. I decided to take it a step further and started reading about nutrition and exercise. I was hooked immediately.

Switching my diet and working hard in the gym allowed me to achieve what I always wanted. I ate cleaner during my senior year, but was far from perfect. I had some knowledge about proper nutrition and made the best of school food. I found that bringing lunch was the way to go.

Since the day my father introduced me to fitness, I knew this is where I belonged. Senior year of high school was when I started taking bodybuilding seriously. My journey to become more aesthetic and fit was under construction.

My fitness journey carried over into college. I was 18 years old and weighed 145 pounds with 9.8 percent body fat. I gained knowledge and experience from trainers and Bodybuilding.com. I was on the right track to lean muscle mass and lower body fat.

Now, I'm a sophomore in college and still improving. I weigh 150 pounds with 4.7 percent body fat. My diet is much better and my workout ethic is 110 percent, but I'm still only scratching the surface. I'm learning something new every day; a new exercise to target a muscle in a different way, a new way to prepare food for my body, and different ways to avoid injury. Still going strong, working out, eating clean, and inspiring before expiring.

How Did Your Passion For Fitness Emerge?

I can workout while having fun, which drives me. People say it's too hard or too far to go to the gym. I don't know what those people are taking about. I can't wait to go train every day. Bodybuilding requires sacrifice like everything else in life. You have to give up things to dedicate time in the gym. It's a lifestyle, not a hobby.

What/Who Motivated You To Be A Fitness Guru?

People have always been a part of motivation for me. When I see my advice working for others, it motivates and shows me what I'm doing must be right. I have an Instagram account (@r_cervantes) where many followers come to like and comment on my photos.

They tell me how my advice gave them nutritional tips and showed them how to workout. My family shows support and stays beside me on my journey to a better physique. Seeing results from the dedication and hard work motivates me.

Where Did You Go For Inspiration?

When I felt down or tired, I looked at my sports water bottle, which has several inspirational quotes written on it with sports tape around the fattest part of the bottle. I can look at the motivational quotes and remember why I started. My favorite is by Muhammad Ali: "I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'don't quit.' Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I want to compete in the NPC, become a trainer, and help others. Who knows where fitness can take me. I want to be a doctor in physical therapy. I'm currently studying exercise and health science. I'll always be happy as long as I do what I enjoy most.

What Is The Most Important Fitness Tip?

The most important fitness tip is to rest. You grow when you rest. Have set rest days to recuperate from the stresses on your body. You probably can work out for hours and hours, but you're harming yourself instead of doing good to your body.

Don't over-train. Set your workout days and rest days to your best accommodation. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. No one wants to fail. Stick with it, be smart, and you will grow.

Who Is Your Favorite Competitor?

Rob Riches is one of my favorite competitors. There are many who I look up to and admire, but I really like Rob's approach to the sport. He's a humble guy who's willing to help and give advice to others. Right beside him is Greg Plitt. He motivates me with speeches and his dedication for bodybuilding.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

Bodybuilding.com has helped immensely with my supplementation. I like to keep my supplements simple and know exactly what I'm getting. The site has a simple and well-developed interface to find supplements by ingredients, brands, or fitness goals. The articles on the site for workouts and nutrition are extremely helpful. The article section is the way to go.